Actor Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything, Les Misérables, My Week with Marilyn) breezes through our 60 second challenge, revealing his unusual method for learning lines, why he likes “having no idea what’s coming next” and why you’ll probably find him in the bath after a long shoot!
Here is Eddie’s recent interview with Chicago’s B96 station.
Yesterday Eddie participated in a discussion at the Academy’s Members Screening of his new film The Theory of Everything.
– Eddie Redmayne Web > 2014 > October 21 | The Academy’s Members Screening of The Theory of Everything
– Eddie Redmayne Web > 2014 > October 21 | The Academy’s Members Screening of The Theory of Everything – Presentation
While attending the New York City premiere of The Theory of Everything Eddie spoke with the Hollywood Reporter about becoming Stephen Hawking.
“The lights came up, his nurse wiped a tear from [Hawking's] cheek, and then he composed his verdict. Two words: ‘Broadly true.’ I let out a sigh that I had been carrying for ten years”
For playing a debilitating theoretical physicist who is confined to a wheelchair and must use a computer to speak in The Theory of Everything, Eddie Redmayne was nothing short of animated, jumpy and incredibly chatty at the film’s New York City premiere on Monday night. The Gucci-suited star of the Stephen Hawking biopic waved to friends as they walked behind the line of reporters to the Museum of Modern Art’s theater, and even paused during an interview on the red carpet to greet Uma Thurman, who enthusiastically introduced him to her daughter, Maya.
“The overriding thing when you meet him is this wit,” Redmayne, attending with fiancée Hannah Bagshawe, told The Hollywood Reporter of Hawking. “There’s a glint in his eye, a mischief or a Lord of Misrule quality, which is extraordinary. That’s the one thing I tried to capture.”
To further portray the professor with a motor neuron disease, the actor trained with a dancer for four months — “trying to teach your body to do things it’s not used to doing; it’s a bit like training for a marathon” — and meticulously tracked the degeneration process: a necessity, as scenes were shot out of order. “I ended up literally doing a chart of every muscle that was going and where the voice was, things like whether he was on one stick, two sticks, which chair he was in, what glasses he was wearing, so I would have a way to jump in and out,” Redmayne said.
Last night Eddie & Hannah were in New York City to attend the screening of The Theory of Everything!
– Eddie Redmayne Web > 2014 > October 20 | The Theory of Everything New York City Premiere
– Eddie Redmayne Web > 2014 > October 20 | The Theory of Everything New York City Premiere – After Party
Thursday night Eddie attended the Alexander Wang x H&M Collection Launch in New York! He looked handsome in black!
The Examiner sat down with Eddie and did an in-depth interview.
Ever since I first saw Eddie Redmayne in the TV miniseries “Pillars of the Earth” I’ve been a huge fan. Redmayne played the part of Jack and was mesmerizing. Since “Pillars,” Redmayne has carved out a diverse body of work. With each role he has become the actor to watch. His performances are in a word – sublime. You never get the sense that he is acting. He embodies each character with effortless perfection. In “The Theory of Everything” Redmayne is the essence of Stephen Hawking. From a gawky and nerdy young man to the fully stricken physicist with ALS, Redmayne is able, with just a slight rise of an eyebrow, to breath life and soul to his character.
In “The Theory of Everything” Redmayne brings the human aspect of Stephen Hawking to the forefront. Despite the progressive deterioration of Hawking’s health, despite his inability to walk or talk we see and feel who Hawking was, – and is, through Redmayne. With each facial nuance or sparkle in his eyes, Redmayne is Hawking. He brings humanity to his role as Hawking, it’s truly phenomenal. Together with Felicity Jones, who plays his wife Jane Hawking, they bring the remarkable love story to life. The movie is based on Jane Hawking’s book, “Traveling to Infinity: My Life with Stephen.” With an immediate and wonderful sense of humor Redmayne graciously sat down with me for this interview:
In preparation for this I read a lot about you and watched a bunch of interviews on YouTube. My favorite was your interview with Jonathan Ross on YouTube. Very funny.
Ah yes, where he asked if I have freckles on my testicles, yeah thanks Jonathan [laughs]. (To find out the answer to that, watch the interview.)
Looking back on your career so far, what were the pivotal moments for you as an actor?
My first was the production of “Oliver” when I was about 11. It was the first time I’d ever done something professional on stage. I was urchin #63, and I just loved it. The whole thing, the huge London Paladium Theater, dwarfed everything, and I just found it so exciting. So that was the first experience. And Jonathan Pryce was the actor playing Fagin. [Years later Redmayne would star with Pryce in “The Goat” but Pryce had no recollection.] About 12 years later my next big breakthrough was a play called “The Goat” by Edward Albee and Jonathan Pryce played my dad. That was my first time doing a stage play on the west-end stage. My opening line was, “You’re doing what, you’re fucking a goat?” I was 24; it was great [chuckles]. And then, [thinking] how interesting that these [pivotal moments] are all plays. And then a play called “Red” with Alfred Molina about [painter] Mark Rothko. [“Red”] was about everything I was interested in like art and commerce and it was in a theatre called the Donmar Warehouse [in London]. And then Tom Hooper casting me in “Les Miserables.”
I read off a quote by Redmayne’s costar from “Birdsong.” Clémence Poésy says, “Eddie is wonderful. He is one of the few actors who could play a character like Stephen in Birdsong, from a young man falling in love at 20 to a haunted man of 35 who has been through a war. When we filmed the scene where my character Isabelle and Stephen meet up years later, it was extraordinary. Eddie walked into the room and it was as if the war had come in with him, his eyes had the haunted look of someone who had been through something dreadful. It is an amazing performance because he does so much without word.”
What’s interesting is there is sort of a similarity in some ways to that movie and this in that we did not shoot chronologically. What was so complicated in “Birdsong” was playing the young man at 20, and then playing him after the war at 35 in the same day, or the other way around. And in “The Theory of Everything” it was similar jumping around the different physicality’s, all within the same day. So for me it was all about the prep early, so that when it came to playing with Felicity [Jones, his costar in “Theory”] you’re being freed. “Pillars of the Earth” was the same.
Are you interested in getting into directing or writing?
I would love one day to direct. I feel like writing is a big part of an actor’s, not job, but really working with writers is quite an important thing just having that dialogue as you begin to know a character backwards, working out what’s sound, what’s true. Certainly I’ve always been very lucky and in such admiration of writers. I did a play, “Red,” with John Logan, he’s a great screenwriter. Or Chris Shinn, amazing playwright. I love that relationship between writers and actors. Edward Albee, “The Goat” writer, amazing and inspirational. I’m pretty useless and doing it myself. I’m trying by osmosis, to learn as much as I can from all the directors I work with.
How do you get into character? You completely submerse yourself into each character.
I never went to drama school so I don’t have a process. Each job I tend to shift or change the process depending on the circumstances, depending on the character and [the] time to prepare. The most amazing thing about “The Theory of Everything” is James [Marsh, the director] allowed me 4 months. I worked with an amazing dance choreographer and amazing make-up designer, Jan Sewell. My instinct was everything would affect everything. I lost weight. What was complicated with this was Hawking does get substantially thinner in the story. But we could not shoot chronologically. That was a big question. James tried to make it to allow me to shoot chronologically and lose weight but economically they could not make that work. So what I did was lose about 15 pounds before we started filming. So early on, the collars would be tight, the make up would be healthy, and then gradually it was all about proportions. As I got I got frailer, the costumes got more oversized; the angles the camera was shooting. That was the complication on this film how you depicted the illness as it progressed.
Every nuance of your face, which was how isolated Redmayne’s performance of Hawking became, was amazing.
It was a really interesting exercise learning how to isolate muscles of your face. Learning to map the muscles of your face. Learning to use muscles you’ve never used before. Jane and Stephen’s mom described how he always had incredibly expressive eyebrows.
How has your family reacted to your journey as an actor?
They have been so supportive. They don’t come from this background. They have been staggeringly supportive even though all the odds have been it’s very difficult as an actor. All of this is true, to get work. I never let myself believe that this could be a career. So I left university having studied History of Art. Then I gave myself a few years to try doing this thing that I really cared about. I did not want to live in regret. I’ve been so lucky.
Universal Pictures has released a clip from The Theory of Everything of a scene between Stephen & Jane right after Stephen has found out about his illness and life expectancy.
The BAFTA website shares this fun news that Eddie will be part of an interview next Tuesday!
An Exclusive Interview with the Star of The Theory of Everything, Eddie Redmayne. Rajendra Roy, MoMA will be moderating the event on Wednesday, October 21, 2014 at the Standard, High Line.
Tony Award® winner Eddie Redmayne will be the featured guest at BAFTA New York’s next “In Conversation” that takes place on Wednesday, October 21, 2014 at The Standard, High Line. Redmayne, on-screen this fall in the Working Title production The Theory of Everything, will discuss his career in film, on stage and television, before a live audience on Wednesday, October 22, 2014 at The Standard, High Line. Rajendra Roy, Chief Curator, Department of Film, MoMA, will moderate the intimate discussion. “In Conversation,” a series of live interviews with notable British actors, directors, screenwriters and producers, explores their career achievements and provides insight on what it takes to become and remain a distinguished artist. “In Conversation” is part of the “Standard Talks” program, a series of talks taking place across all Standard Hotels in New York, Los Angeles, and Miami. British Airways is also the presenting sponsor of BAFTA New York’s signature initiative, “In Conversation.”
“I’m honored that BAFTA has invited me to be part of its ‘In Conversation’ series in the great city of New York,” said Eddie Redmayne. “I have a special affection for the creative community in NYC, which I was made to feel part of when I was welcomed to Broadway a few years ago. To now have the opportunity to return and engage in a dialogue about film and culture is something I am hugely looking forward to.”
“The response to In Conversation has been fantastic and we are delighted that Eddie Redmayne will share with us the inside story of what drives him to excellence on screen and on stage,” said Charles Tremayne, BAFTA New York Chairman. “This is what makes our series so unique – it ‘s not a promotion, it’s an immersion in the craft of acting, the essence of what BAFTA stands for.”
“I have known Eddie for many years and he has year-on-year been one of the very most exciting actors out there to watch,” said Luke Parker Bowles, Chairman of Film and Events, BAFTA New York. “I would have begged, borrowed and stolen to get him to do this, but fortunately he spared us such jail time and kindly agreed to let us honor him. And, it will truly be an event to remember.”
This event is not open to the public.